Canadian farmers report producing more corn for grain and soybeans, but less wheat, canola, barley, and oats in 2023, Statistics Canada says; lower production for most crops driven largely by lower yields

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OTTAWA , December 5, 2023 (press release) –

Canadian farmers reported producing more corn for grain and soybeans, but less wheat, canola, barley, and oats in 2023. Lower production for most crops was driven largely by lower yields, especially in Western Canada where growing conditions were generally drier than in 2022.

Throughout the growing season in 2023, dry conditions across much of Western Canada contributed to lower yields compared with 2022. Warm and dry conditions allowed farm operators to complete harvests in a timely manner across most of the prairies. In parts of Eastern Canada, adequate moisture and warm temperatures resulted in good yields, although some parts of Quebec and the Atlantic provinces may have been affected by above-average precipitation.

Map 1 
Departure from average precipitation (in millimetres) from April 1 to October 9, 2023 (during the growing season), compared with annual average, by province

Wheat harvest decreases on lower yield

Total wheat production fell by 6.9% to 32.0 million tonnes in 2023, attributable to lower production in the Prairies, likely because of dry conditions. Lower yields (-12.1% to 44.5 bushels per acre) offset the higher harvested area (+6.0% to 26.4 million acres).

Saskatchewan wheat production fell by 6.7% to 14.2 million tonnes. Yields decreased by 12.4% to 37.5 bushels per acre, offsetting higher harvested area, which rose by 6.4% to 14.0 million acres.

In Alberta, wheat yields decreased by 19.6% to 44.7 bushels per acre because of dry conditions in parts of the province. Harvested area rose by 2.4% to 7.7 million acres, resulting in a 17.8% decrease in wheat production to 9.3 million tonnes.

Wheat production in Manitoba rose 8.0% to 5.1 million tonnes in 2023. The increase was driven by higher harvested area (+8.5% to 3.3 million acres), while yield decreased (-0.5%. to 57.8 bushels per acre).

Canola production falls despite higher harvested area

Canola production decreased by 2.0% nationally to 18.3 million tonnes in 2023, driven by lower yields, which decreased by 4.9% to 36.9 bushels per acre. Harvested area rose 3.0% to 21.9 million acres.

Canola yield in Saskatchewan decreased by 8.4% to 34.8 bushels per acre, offsetting higher harvested area (+8.4% to 12.3 million acres), resulting in a 0.6% production decrease to 9.7 million tonnes.

In Alberta, canola production fell 3.5% to 5.4 million tonnes. The decrease was attributable to lower harvested area (-3.1% to 6.3 million acres), while yields edged down 0.5% to 37.9 bushels per acre.

Farmers in Manitoba reported producing less canola in 2023 (-3.5% to 3.1 million tonnes) because of lower harvested area, which fell 3.2% to 3.1 million acres. Canola yields in the province fell 0.2% to 43.2 bushels per acre.

Higher harvested area results in greater production of corn

Nationally, the total corn for grain production rose 3.7% to a record high 15.1 million tonnes in 2023. Harvested area rose 5.2% to 3.8 million acres, offsetting a 1.4% decrease in yields to 158.1 bushels per acre.

Ontario farmers reported that harvested area edged down by 0.9% to 2.2 million acres in 2023, while yields rose 3.0% to 170.9 bushels per acre, bringing production up 2.0% from 2022 to 9.6 million tonnes.

Corn for grain production in Quebec was down 6.1% from the previous year to 3.3 million tonnes in 2023. Harvested area rose 0.3% to 888,400 acres but was offset by lower yields, which decreased 6.4% to 148.1 bushels per acre.

Manitoba farmers reported producing 1.8 million tonnes of corn in 2023, driven by higher harvested area, which rose 47.2% to 547,600 acres. Yields within the province fell 8.9% to 128.4 bushels per acre.

Soybean production rises

Soybean production increased by 6.7% nationally to 7.0 million tonnes in 2023. The increase in production was the result of higher harvested area (+6.8% to 5.6 million acres), while yields were unchanged at 45.9 bushels per acre.

Ontario, the largest soybean producing province, reported higher production, rising 1.0% from the previous year to 4.0 million tonnes in 2023. Lower harvested area (-5.7% to 2.9 million acres) was offset by higher yields (+7.1% to 51.4 bushels per acre).

In Manitoba, yields fell 15.8% to 36.2 bushels per acre but were above the five-year average. Harvested area rose 41.0% to 1.6 million acres, resulting in an 18.8% increase in production to 1.6 million tonnes in 2023.

Soybean production in Quebec rose 12.6% from one year earlier to 1.3 million tonnes in 2023. The increase in production was the result of higher yields (+7.3% to 46.9 bushels per acre) and higher harvested area (+5.1% to 994,300 acres).

Lower yields result in decreased barley and oat production

Barley production fell 10.9% to 8.9 million tonnes in 2023. The decrease was driven by lower yields compared with 2022, falling 12.9% to 61.3 bushels per acre, likely because of dry conditions in parts of the Prairies. Harvested area rose 2.4% to 6.7 million acres.

Total oat production decreased by 49.6% nationally to 2.6 million tonnes in 2023, the lowest production in more than a decade. The decrease was a result of lower harvested area which fell 41.3% to 2.0 million acres as farmers opted to plant less oats, likely because of high production in 2022. Yields also decreased in 2023, falling 14.0% to 84.1 bushels per acre.

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Dan Rivard
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